What intrigues Steve Williamson is the fact that Temecula Valley was recognized long ago as having ideal growing conditions for grape vines.
The museum specialist with the City of Temecula said that the area was considered for citrus and avocados, but grape vines continually beat out other produce.
“The best thing that grows in the Temecula Valley is wine-making grapes,” Williamson said. “Temecula is very well-suited for wine-making.”
On April 14, the Temecula Valley Museum will present its very first exhibit on Wine County, tracing its Spanish missionary roots to its current fruit-bearing prosperity with over 30 wineries.
“It will be an all-encompassing type of exhibit,” said Williamson, noting that no particular winery will be focused on.
The exhibit will tell the story of Temecula Valley as a wine-producing region through a series of photographs and three-dimensional artifacts, like a hand press, barrel, a wine barrel bunghole drill and branding irons.
“Photographs are really going to tell the story,” he said.
‘Wine Country — From the Missions to Modern Day’
When: April 14-June 17
Where: Temecula Valley Museum, located in Sam Hicks Monument Park, 28314 Mercedes St., Temecula
Admission: Free, though a $2 donation is recommended
More info: 951-694-6450, temeculavalleymuseum.org
Williamson said the museum typically focuses on early Temecula history. But for this exhibit, they also are exploring modern Temecula Valley history, “particularly because Wine Country has become so closely tied to Temecula now.”
He said what might be surprising to many is that Wine Country’s evolution was far from lineal.
“There’s a big separation between the Mission vineyards that were planted in the Temecula Valley and what we have today,” he said.
The museum’s current exhibit, “Tools of the Trade,” closes April 1. It features antique survey, shoe-making, barrel and granite quarry tools, among others.
“The survey tools were really interesting to a lot of people,” senior museum specialist Sue Blanch said. “This is an area that has changed so much over the years.”
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